Burn Baby Burn!

Prescribed burns are a natural process that produces numerous benefits to the entire ecosystem. In my home state of Georgia we use them to remove choking underbrush and unwanted grasses, as well as rejuvenate better/higher quality food sources by releasing nutrients into the soil.

 

Recently I helped a good friend of my burn his 5-acre field. If you’re thinking about doing a controlled burn here are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. In GA we usually burn in March, before the new green grasses come up. That's a challenge because that’s the time of the year it rains a lot.
  2. Most likely you will need a burn permit. Contact your state forestry department, they will let you know if you need a permit, plus they are a tremendous help. Often, they will assist you in the burn.
  3. Cut a good fire break between the land you want to burn and the forest what you don't. Remember it’s called a “controlled burn” for a reason.
  4. Get help. This is not a one-man job. For your safety and the safety of the burn you’ll need a few friends that know what they’re doing.
  5. Stay focused. Know which way the wind is blowing and how fast it’s blowing.
  6. Again, it’s called a control burn so manage the progress of the burn lighting small sections of the land.
  7. It’s not over until its out. Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the burn.

 

I hope this was helpful. For more info a simple google search will provide you with numerous websites that have tons of information on controlled (prescribed) burns for where you live.

 

Mike Austin

Benefits of controlled burning

 

Insect and disease control

Prescribed fire is the most effective and practical means of controlling brownspot disease in longleaf pine seedlings and cone insects such as the white pine cone beetle.


Aesthetic appearance enhancement

Prescribed fire improves recreation and aesthetic values by increasing occurrence and visibility of flowering annuals and biennials and maintains open spaces for vistas.

 

Native vegetation improvement

Use of prescribed fire encouraging the new growth of native vegetation, and maintaining the many plant and animal species whose habitats depend on periodic fire.


Grazing improvement

Prescribed fire improves grazing in open pine stands on the Coastal Plain by increasing availability, palatability, quality, and quantity of grasses and forbs.


Seeding and planting preparation

Prescribed fire is useful when regenerating southern pines. On open sites, prescribed fire can expose mineral soil and control competing vegetation until seedlings become established.